O You darling Bettina! Did you do it all yourself?" Mary exclaimed impulsively, as the girls admired the dainty first course which their hostess set before them. "Everything is pink and white, like the wedding!" "Yes," said Bettina, "and those maline bows on the basket of roses actually attended my wedding. And after this is over, you may see that maline again. I expect to press it out and put it away for other pink luncheons in other Junes! Today, since my guests were to be just my bridesmaids, I thought that a pink luncheon would be the most appropriate kind."
"Isn't it fine to be in Bettina's own house? I can't realize it!" said Ellen. "And the idea of daring to cook a whole luncheon and serve it in courses all by herself! Why, Bettina, how did you know what to have?"
"Well," said Bettina, "I went to the market and saw all the inexpensive things that one can buy in June! (They had to be inexpensive! Why, if I were to tell you just what this luncheon cost, you'd laugh. But I want you to like it all before I give that secret away.) And then in planning my menu, I thought of pinky things that went together. That was all, you see."
"But didn't it take hours and hours to prepare everything?"
"Why, no. I thought it all out first, and wrote it down, and did most of it yesterday. I've found that five minutes of planning is worth five hours of unplanned work. I haven't hurried, and as Bob will have this same meal as his dinner tonight, I didn't have to think of him except to plan for more. You see, I estimated each portion as carefully as I could, for it isn't necessary to have a lot of left-over things. Tonight I'll wear this same pink gown at dinner so that Bob will get every bit that he can of my first luncheon except the silly girls who flattered the cook."
"Bettina, there are so many things I'd like to ask you!" said Ruth, who was a little conscious of the shining ring on her left hand. "Tell me, for instance, how you shaped these cunning timbales. With your hands?"
"With a conical ice-cream mould. It is so easy that way."
"And this salad! Fred is so fond of salad, but I don't know a thing about making it."
"Well, I washed the lettuce thoroughly, and when it was very wet I put it on the ice in a cloth. I poured boiling water over these tomatoes to make the skins peel off easily. And, oh, yes, these cucumbers are crisp because I kept the slices in ice water for awhile before I served them. Good salad is always very cold; the ingredients ought to be chilled before they are mixed."
"These dear little cakes, Bettina! How could you make them in such cunning shapes?"
"With a fancy cutter. And I dipped it in warm water each time before I used it, so that it would cut evenly. I'd love to show you girls all that I know about cooking. Do learn it now while you're at home; it will save much labor and even tears! Why, Bob said——"
"I knew that was coming!" laughed Alice. "Girls, in self-defense, let's keep the conversation strictly on Betty's menu, and away from Betty's husband!"
And so they discussed:
Strawberries au Naturel Kornlet Soup Whipped Cream Croutons Salmon Timbales with Egg Sauce Buttered Beets Potato Croquettes Pinwheel Biscuit Butter Balls Vegetable Salad Salad Dressing Wafers Fancy Cakes Coffee
(All measurements are level)
Strawberries au Naturel (Ten portions)
2 quarts strawberries
1 C-powdered sugar
Pick over selected berries, place in a colander and wash, draining carefully. Press powdered sugar into cordial glasses to shape into a small mould. Remove from glasses onto centers of paper doilies placed on fruit plates. Attractively arrange ten berries around each mound. Berries should be kept cool and not hulled. Natural leaves may be used very effectively on the doily.
Croutons for the Soup (Ten portions)
4 slices bread
2 T-butter (melted)
Cut stale bread in one-third inch cubes. Brown in the oven. Add melted butter and salt. Mix and reheat the croutons.
Salmon Timbales (Eight portions)
1 C-salmon flaked
¼ C-bread crumbs
1 slightly beaten egg
1 T-lemon juice
Mix ingredients in order named. Fill small buttered moulds or cups one-half full. Set in a pan of hot water, and bake twenty minutes in a moderate oven. Serve with following sauce:
Egg Sauce (Eight portions)
1 egg yolk
Melt the butter, stir flour in well, and slowly add the milk. Let it boil about two minutes, stirring constantly. Season, add yolk of egg, and mix well. (The oil from the salmon may be substituted for melted butter as far as it will go.)
White Cakes (Sixteen cakes)
2 C-sifted flour
3 t-baking powder
½ t-lemon extract
3 egg whites
White Mountain Cream Icing for Cakes
1 C-granulated sugar
1/8 t-cream tartar
1 egg white
Boil the sugar, water and cream of tartar together without stirring. Remove from fire as soon as the syrup hairs when dropped from a spoon. Pour very slowly onto the stiffly beaten egg white. Beat vigorously with sweeping strokes until cool. If icing gets too hard to spread, add a little warm water and keep beating. Add extract and spread on cakes. Decorate with tiny pink candies.